Unexpected foods that cause inflammation – Inflammation is a huge buzzword in the health world right now, but it’s not all actually bad. In fact, acute (or short-term) inflammation is when your immune system sends white blood cells to the site of an infection or injury, causing pain and swelling that indicates you’re healing.
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Where inflammation becomes problematic, however, is when it’s chronic (or ongoing)—in other words, when an inflammatory response is continually triggered, which can lead to everything from mental illness to IBS to heart disease to diabetes, says Cindy Geyer, M.D., medical director at Canyon Ranch in Lenox, Massachusetts. (Looking to take back control
Any number of things (genetics, pollution, stress) can cause chronic inflammation, but the factor you have most control over is—you guessed it!—diet. While you can load up on these foods that help counter inflammation, knowing which inflammation-inducing foods to scale back on is just as important. Here are five surprising offenders.
Refined cooking oils (corn, soybean, sunflower, and safflower oils, which are sometimes labeled simply as “vegetable” oil) are highly concentrated sources of omega-6 fatty acids. These are essential fats that we need to consume, but most experts say we eat far too many omega-6s (found in these oils and many processed foods) and not enough omega-3s (found mostly in seafood). Why it matters: The body uses these fats to create hormones, and while the hormones derived from omega-3s are anti-inflammatory, the hormones derived from omega-6s are pro-inflammatory.
Remember: We need to have some level of inflammatory response to help fight infections and heal injuries. But excessive omega-6 consumption can lead to excess inflammation—so don’t retire your trusty olive oil in favor of vegetable anytime soon. (And try one of these fresh seafood recipes to get more omega-3s in your diet!)